After more than 2,000 Missouri children diagnose with mental illness were shift from traditional Medicaid into three for-profit managed-care companies, the state’s hospitals notice an alarming trend: a doubling in the percentage who had thoughts of suicide or attempt suicide. Additionally, the average length of stay for these children in psychiatric hospitals drop from 10 days to seven following the Medicaid change in May 2017; so according to a study release this month by the Missouri Hospital Association.
While children with suicidal thoughts are at higher risk of suicide; the hospital association said it had no evidence that more children were taking their own lives after the move to manage care. The growing number of suicides among children and youths prompt national concern. The suicide rate in Missouri has double from 2.8 per 100,000 children in 2003 to 6.4 per 100,000 children in 2017; according to the hospital association. In that same time period, 735 Missouri children died by suicide.
If you know a child who talk about contemplating suicide; get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat; both available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Managed care is an effort to save money and that is do by getting rid of unnecessary care or coordinating care better; but a lot of managed-care organizations cut corners,” they said.
Missouri’s top Medicaid official said he was aware that youth suicides had increase in the state since 2003; so but he react cautiously to the report’s implied connection to the growing use of manage care since 2017. But it can also mean denying access to care or not approving services that are need. Manage care works best when states provide strong oversight and clarity about the health plans’ goals, they said.
Kimball said that the move to manage care could play a role in more children acknowledging suicidal thoughts or attempts; but that greater awareness of mental health conditions and of suicide could factor in. Missouri’s top Medicaid official said he was aware that youth suicides increase in the state since 2003; but he react cautiously to the report’s implied connection to the growing use of manage care since 2017. Missouri Medicaid shift to manage care in the more populous areas of the state around St. Louis and Kansas City nearly a decade ago.
Private manage care
Missouri hospitals and psychiatrists for years speculate that the state’s move to require Medicaid enrollees; which is to coverage through private manage care plans reduce their access to mental health services. That’s because many private health plans have tightened the criteria for patients seeking inpatient care or reduce the length of their admission. Alyson Wysong-Harder; a co-author of the study, called the data shocking.
They get these kids readmit on a regular basis, they said. “These are very vulnerable patients. Wysong-Harder said the lack of child psychiatrists in many communities means; it’s vital that children get adequate time in the hospital to deal with their mental illness. The lack of child psychiatrists is a problem for all health insurers, including Medicaid.
Although about 71% of physicians accept new Medicaid patients, only about one-third of psychiatrists do, according to a study released; so this year by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission. If you know a child who talk about contemplating suicide; get help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat, both available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.